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SIU starts women's soccer program, hires new coach

  • Grant Williams

    Grant Williams

 
By Chris Barron
Contributing Writer
Posted on 5/9/2018, 1:00 AM

A new sport appears on the SIU sports menu next season, and there's a new coach to guide that new sport, too. Women's soccer is the sport, and former Evansville Aces assistant Grant Williams will be that coach.

"I'm glad to be the one who brings real football to Carbondale," Williams joked at Monday's news conference while looking at the university's new athletic director, former SIU football coach Jerry Kill.

All jokes aside, Kill was proud as a new papa about his first hire as interim athletic director.

"I knew after meeting Coach Williams in Evansville that he was the one I wanted as our first women's soccer coach," Kill said. " One thing I am good at is picking guys to work for me, and he's the one I wanted."

Williams is a longtime assistant who has paid his dues coaching at several stops (EIU, WKU and the Aces). He also knows every facet of a soccer program (organizing practices, coaching -- especially goal tending and recruiting), and he knows the MVC already.

"I have scouted the every team in the MVC already, so unlike a coach coming from another league, I'm good to go," Williams said. "As far as recruiting, it's late in the process, but there are still difference makers out there, because other programs are now out of scholarships to give."

Williams likes the location of SIU -- especially it's proximity to the Metro-St. Louis Area. That's a fertile ground for soccer stars.

"I've always said that a coach is only as good as his players," Kill added. "And Coach Williams really knows how to recruit."

In his six years at Evansville, Williams helped develop 24 All-MVC players and 11 All-MVC Freshmen. The Aces' women's team won two conference championships during Williams' tenure and played in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

But when asked how long it would take to develop the sport to that level at SIU, Kill stepped in to answer the question.

"Look, nobody is expecting us to get there in two years," Kill said. "We're going to do this the right way, and that will take some time."

But Williams seemed to relish the rather daunting opportunity just handed to him.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," Williams said. "The chancellor and Coach Kill have placed their trust in me to do the job, and I'm excited about it."